code reading dds

Code Reading: The Open Source Perspective

Diomidis Spinellis. Code Reading: The Open Source Perspective. Addison Wesley, 2003. ISBN 0-201-79940-5.

Software Development 14th Annual Productivity Award

Maxim of the day

#159. Documentation often mirrors and therefore reveals the underlying system structure. (Chapter 8: Documentation, p. 245)

Book front cover
Larger image of the front cover, back cover image.

The Book

About the Book

Back Cover Text

If you are a programmer, you need this book.

Page 379: You've got a day to add a new feature to a 34,000-line program: Where do you start?
Page 156: How do you comprehend code that appears to be doing five things in parallel?
Page 45: How can you understand and simplify an inscrutable piece of code?
Page 196: How do you disentangle a complicated build process?

You may read code because you have to—to fix it, inspect it, or improve it. You may read code the way an engineer examines a machine—to discover what makes it tick. Or you may read code because you are scavenging—looking for material to reuse.

Code reading requires its own set of skills, and the ability to determine which technique to use when is crucial. In this indispensable book, Diomidis Spinellis uses more than 600 real-world examples to show you how to identify good (and bad) code: how to read it, what to look for, and how to use this knowledge to improve your own code.

Fact: If you make a habit of reading good code, you will write better code yourself.

Diomidis Spinellis has been developing the techniques presented in this book since 1985 while writing and maintaining more than 250,000 lines of code for a number of innovative and award-winning commercial and open-source projects. He received his M.Eng. in software engineering and his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of London's Imperial College. Currently he is an associate professor in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

CD-ROM 53,000 files, 16 million lines, 400Mb of complete open source projects including the Apache Web server, the hsqldb Java relational database engine, the NetBSD Unix distribution, the Perl language, the Tomcat application server, and the X Window System. And the complete code context for the 600 references found in the book.

The Sequel

Code Quality book logo If you've enjoyed Code Reading you will also appreciate its companion book, Code Quality. The book also uses examples from open source software projects to illustrate the code quality concepts that every professional software developer should appreciate and apply. Read more on the book's web site.


Chinese translation front cover
Chinese translation
ISBN 978-7-121-17481-0
Chinese translation front cover
Chinese translation
ISBN 7-302-08072-0
English reprint (China) front cover
English reprint (China)
ISBN 7-5083-2182-0
Greek translation front cover
Greek translation
ISBN 960-209-845-7
Japanese translation front cover
Japanese translation
ISBN 4-8399-1265-3
Korean translation front cover
Korean translation
ISBN 89-5674-186-7
Polish translation front cover
Polish translation
ISBN 83-7361-555-5
Russian translation front cover
Russian translation
ISBN 5-8459-0604-0
Author homepage
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